This pathway on the right, I walked today, up in the mountains near to where I stay. I can honestly tell you it is a great little path filled with up hills and down hills, twists and turns, roundabouts and straight lines, tilts to the left and tilts to the right, it was never constant. Such is life, it is always moving, always changing, and if it isn’t then you aren’t living.
That is the fact of life, the pathways in our life can take us to many amazing places, both scary, sad, exciting and happy, there is no limit.
Now these roads they can be made out of wood, they can be tarred, some gravel, some cobbled, they can all be different and all lead to the same place. They are our journey through life, no matter what we do, it is our choice whether we learn to jump the gaps, dodge the bee’s and duck under the overhanging branches.
In the jungle there are often fires, sometimes they happen when we are just buds on the branch, sometimes when we are full grown flowers or when we are old. When the fire happens, be it the first, second or hundredth, we can feel totally succumbed by the damage we perceive. We can feel burnt and dried out by life and the things that happen to us when they do.
Our burnt and dried out selves can feel stunted, disabled and incapacitated. We can feel that our proverbial limbs to walk the journey have been cut off and our growth stunted beyond recognition. The thing though about fire is that it has a natural order in nature, it is needed to enable the plants grow, to flower and to seed. The Protea on the right is one such flower, it only seeds itself after a fire, it’s colours are always brighter in the aftermath of what is perceived to be destruction.
There are three stages that the Protea goes through after a fire. The first stage is the blackened embers that remain, the soot is still soft to the touch, it steams and it is fragile, hurt. Leading to the second stage, the flower opens its seed pods and releases them, by doing so it begins to heal from the inside out. Reaching the second stage, the flower now uses a lot of its energy and natural resources. It sets its roots into the ground and begins the work at mending its branches, its stems and finally it starts to bud. The flower that blooms is pale in colour, it can seem to be washed out and at times almost translucent in its paleness. The healing process that it went through in order to get where it is was heavy and tiring, getting over the fire is never easy. Finally the pale flower’s roots start to steady, they grow in strength as does the flowers size. The colour starts coming back to its petals, slowly, bit by bit, the colour seeps from the inside out. Finally when the flower is ready it becomes a deeper shade, more vibrant than before the fire. Sometimes those seeds that fall to the ground evolve, they become stronger and even more beautiful than before.
We had a fire recently, two to be exact, at different times in the year. Below are three photos, one is of a Protea that was recently held in the grasps of fire; The second is the one that has come out of a fire which happened a few months back; Finally the one on the right is the new and improved version, the evolved flower with brighter petals, deeper shades and depth. Time is an amazing healer if we allow it, this flower took its time, month’s sometimes years pass before it starts to glow again. But as in life, as in everything, there is a choice. That flower could have stayed in that burnt cast, the rain may have washed the soot off its branches and its stem but it had a choice whether it would grow and heal or not.
Sometimes we just have to give ourselves time to heal, there will be times when we just feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, then there will be times when we need to find refuge from it, take a break, time. There is no wrong or right way of walking the pathways in life, the one thing that we do have is choice. Choice to go forward, choice to stay where we are and a choice to go backwards and stay there… its one of the only certainties we have, it is our greatest asset.
For every step backwards it is two steps forwards, sometimes we have to have the fire on our paths so that we can truly experience the wonderful relief in the rain. Without winter days how will we know what the meaning of summer is?
Time, sometimes we just need to give ourselves a chance…